U.S. shipping giant FedEx is ending its partnership with the National Rifle Association that offered members of the gun-rights group discounted shipping rates, according to Reuters.
> It's a quiet reversal: eight months ago, FedEx stood by the gun-rights lobby group as other companies scrapped deals. They were reacting to the NRA's stance after 17 students and staff members were murdered at a Florida high school by a former student. Companies including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and car-rental firm Enterprise swiftly ended member discounts. At the time, FedEx said that while assault rifles of the kind used in most American mass shootings shouldn't be in civilian hands, it did not believe in "discriminating" between organizations it works with.
> That, though, is still significant - perhaps more so than largely political gestures. It suggests the NRA no longer has the economic clout to inspire fear in the corporate world. The group nearly put gunmaker Smith & Wesson out of business in 2000 when it branded the company a "sellout" for agreeing to back stronger gun controls. Boycotts from NRA members followed, and Smith & Wesson's chief executive lost his job.
However, a FedEx spokesperson told The New York Times that its decision to cancel the program had nothing to do with gun rights or the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday that left 11 people dead.
> Instead, FedEx said on Tuesday that its decision to end its marketing relationship with the N.R.A. was the result of a review that began months ago. The review showed that members of the group did not bring in enough shipping volume to warrant its participation in the program, the company said. More than 100 companies were dropped from the discount program as part of the review.
> While FedEx is ending the program, N.R.A. members who had access to the discount previously will continue to be able to use it.